Can you imagine anyone playing the part of Don Corleone other than Marlon Brando? Well, here are some of the people who wanted the part: Frank Sinatra. Burt Lancaster. George C. Scott. Orson Welles. Director Francis Ford Coppola’s first choice was Sir Laurence Olivier, but he was not well and unable to work. His next choice was Brando, but he was only 47 at the time and too young for the role. But this is the movies. This is Hollywood. And Marlon Brando turned out to be the perfect person to be the Godfather.
Real mob boss Joe Colombo threatened the movie’s producers in an attempt to keep The Godfather from being made. He objected to the depiction of the Italian-American community and to the use of the terms “mafia” and “Cosa Nostra.” The producers used a time-honored Hollywood tradition to thwart this threat – they hired mobsters as “advisors” and extras. And wonder of wonders, the threats suddenly ceased.
Is The Godfather the best movie ever made? You can certainly make the case. It was voted number 3 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies. It won the Oscar for Best Picture, of course. And, in a completely unrelated but nevertheless important statistic, there are approximately 61 scenes in which people are eating or that that feature food.
One last fact, not one that will help the appetite. During rehearsals for the infamous “horse head” scene, a fake head was used. But in the actual take, they substituted a real head, purchased from a glue factory. Actor John Marley says his scream in the film is real, because he wasn’t told about the switch!